BioUtah and life sciences companies gathered at the Utah State Capitol on April 30 to celebrate the Medical Innovations Pathways (MIP) Class of 2019. A total of 52 high school seniors from Canyons, Davis, Granite, Jordan and Tooele school districts were awarded the Medical Innovations Certificate during a graduation ceremony presided over by Kimberlee Carlile, Director for the Talent Ready Utah Center.

Utah companies participating in the MIP program include BD, BioFire, Biomerics, Edwards Lifesciences, Fresenius, GE Healthcare, Merit Medical, Nelson Laboratories, Sorenson Forensics, Stryker, TEVA Pharmaceuticals and Varex Imaging.

Jeffery R. Nelson, president of Nelson Laboratories, and a member of the MIP Executive Committee, addressed the graduates as a keynote speaker. In his remarks to the graduates, Nelson said, “We’re fortunate to live in a state that offers students a chance to explore careers in the life sciences and see first-hand the important work we do. You represent the next generation workforce. You are the future that will continue to innovate and develop new breakthrough technologies to change medicine and improve the quality of life.”

Keyana Besendorfer, an alumni of the MIP Class of 2018, and production associate at Stryker, also addressed the graduates telling them, “Your Medical Innovations Certificate opens doors to exciting careers with major life sciences companies. After graduating from high school, I found a home at Stryker where I help manufacture a device used to treat stroke patients. We have a chance to bring forward new ideas and develop the life-changing innovations of tomorrow. That’s exciting.”

Also speaking at the ceremony were Superintendent Scott Rogers of Tooele School District, and Karen Peterson, Education Policy Specialist with the office of Governor Gary R. Herbert.

The MIP program, launched as a pilot program with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development in 2016, continues to grow, providing students with guaranteed job interviews right after high school. Students who enroll in the MIP program choose a medical device or laboratory concentration. In addition, students must do on-site job shadows with experienced industry professionals.

“Through MIP, high school students get early exposure to Utah’s medical technology companies, which can help us retain talent and strengthen our workforce,” said Kerri Harris, Senior Human Resources Manager at BD.

“We want to invest in these students and help them find rewarding careers in our industry,” said Jake Reyes, Senior Corporate Recruiter for Merit Medical.

Over 1,000 Utah life sciences companies, from the medical device, diagnostic, biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors, provide more than 130,000 jobs in the state.

“MIP is a great private-public partnership,” said Kelvyn Cullimore, President and CEO of BioUtah, who was on hand to celebrate the graduates. “You have government, education and industry coming together to prepare students for the 21st century economy, while helping to build a talent pool for this fast-growing industry.”

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